Financial Conduct Authority  

FCA launches appointed representatives unit to tackle harm

FCA launches appointed representatives unit to tackle harm

The Financial Conduct Authority has launched a dedicated appointed representatives department which will focus on tackling harm posed by ARs and their principal firms.

According to its website, the newly-formed AR unit sits within supervision, policy and competition and reports to the director of insurance. 

The regulator is currently recruiting for 30 ‘senior associate’ roles in the new department which will be available across its offices in London and Edinburgh.

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The salary range for London will be approximately £50,000 - £58,000 depending on the candidate’s skills and qualifications, plus a benefits package and non-contributory pension, while for Edinburgh it will be averaging £47,000 - £50,500.

This comes as last December, the FCA said it will require firms to run verification checks on ARs annually after detecting a "wide range of harm across all sectors" containing this model. 

In a consultation paper, it outlined firms will be required to annually verify their ARs' details and report to the regulator whether these remain accurate and confirm the activities they permit their ARs to carry out.

A spokesperson for the FCA said: “Improving oversight of appointed representatives is called out as a priority in our three-year strategy. The risk of consumer harm caused by appointed representatives is currently too high. We’re addressing this through increased supervision work, improving data and intelligence, and scrutinising firms applying for authorisation. We’re also consulting on changes to the rules for appointed representatives.”

The advert, posted 10 days ago, said the new department will have four teams – a triage and case evaluation team, two casework teams and a strategy and engagement team, which will all be supported by a data unit. 

The case evaluation team will triage all principal and AR cases and handle to conclusion those cases with a lower risk of harm.

Meanwhile, the two case handling teams will deal with more complex cases, both whistleblowing and non-whistleblowing, and the strategy and engagement team will lead on the development of the AR strategy, internal and external stakeholder relations, as well as managing proactive, multi-firm work. 

Roles will be permanent for up to two years and successful candidates will be placed in alternative roles thereafter.

The regulator wrote: “The FCA has identified potential harms arising from appointed representatives (ARs) and their principals, which operate in a wide range of financial markets.  

“To address these risks of harm, a new appointed representative department has been set up to undertake targeted action against the highest risk business models and principles/ARs which represent the most significant risks of harm. 

“This will be achieved through the acquisition and use of more detailed data on principals and their AR relationships, risk profiling and the implementation of a more focused assertive supervision approach to identify potential risk areas and ensure these are addressed as a priority, working with colleagues across supervision, authorisation and enforcement.”

The FCA also said it is currently trialing a hybrid way of working, requiring colleagues to spend 40 per cent of their time in the office each month until the end of July.